BBC drops B.C./A.D. dating method
Al Webb, Religion News Service
October 06, 2011

BBC drops B.C./A.D. dating method

BBC drops B.C./A.D. dating method
Al Webb, Religion News Service
October 06, 2011

LONDON – British Christians are incensed after the

state-funded BBC decided to jettison the terms B.C. and A.D. in favor of B.C.E.

and C.E. in historical date references.

The broadcaster has directed that the traditional B.C.

(Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, or Year of the Lord) be replaced by B.C.E.

(Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era) in its television and radio


The BBC said in an official statement that since it is “committed

to impartiality, it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate


It described the terms B.C.E. and C.E. as “a religiously

neutral alternative to B.C./A.D.,” although critics quickly pointed out that

the new terms, like the old, were anchored around the birth of Jesus Christ.

The new edict drew immediate accusations that the network

was guilty of political correctness run amok as the BBC’s phone lines were

jammed with irate listeners and readers.

Retired Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali of Rochester, a

leading British evangelical, told journalists that “this amounts to the dumbing

down of the Christian basis of our culture, language and history.”

“These changes are unnecessary,” said Nazir-Ali, “and they

don’tactually achieve what the BBC wants them to achieve. Whether you use Common

Era or Anno Domini, the date is still the same and the reference point is still

the birth of Jesus Christ.”

The network also drew fire from Britain’s Plain English

Campaign, whose spokeswoman, Marie Clair, said “it sounds like change just for

the sake of change. … It is difficult to see what the point of the changes are

if people do not understand the new terms.”

On Sept. 28, a BBC spokeswoman addressed the controversy,

saying: “Whilst the BBC uses B.C. and A.D. like most people as standard

terminology, it is also possible for individuals to use different terminology

if they wish to, particularly as it is now

commonly used in historical research.”